It's Christmas time and you need something rare and all-but-unobtainable for the bibliophile you love. But you don't happen to be rolling in money.
I have the perfect gift for thirteen of you.
Every year Dragonstairs Press, my wife Marianne Porter's "nanopress," sends a Christmas chapbook to its friends and patrons. Twelve months later, those chapbooks remaining are put up for sale.
Solstice Fire, comprising three seasonal works of Solstice-related flash fiction, has just gone on sale at the Dragonstairs website. There are exactly thirteen copies available. You can buy one for five dollars.
Why so cheap? Well... When Marianne resolved to create hand-made, carefully-crafted collectibles in very small numbers, she asked me to use my small press contacts to help her set a price. The first expert I consulted breezily said, "Fifty dollars! Anything less and the serious collectors won't touch it."
The second (hi, Lawrence!) said "Anything above ten dollars and people won't buy it on impulse."
I passed the first price along to Marianne and she was horrified. The second she liked better. But finally she went with what she called the "Beanie Baby Model." Beanie Babies, you'll remember were small and lovable stuffed toys that sold in limited editions for only five bucks a pop. Their business model was that if somebody wanted to buy a child a Beanie Babie (or a child with an allowance wanted to buy one) the price was so low they would.
Similarly, if you want a signed and numbered chapbook, one in an edition of a hundred, with a holiday theme, you can buy Solstice Fire for only five dollars.
Just don't roll it up in a cylinder and stuff it into a stocking. Your beloved bibliophile will grind his or her teeth at you if you do.
You can find the Dragonstairs site here.
Above: Sometime in the future, collectors who won't touch anything below fifty bucks are going to be offering serious money for this chapbook to someone who bought it for love of words. That makes me happy.